Table Manners Basics

22 Dec

I know most of you will skip this post, thinking you don’t need to hear about table manners. After all, your mother drummed it all into your head whilst you were growing up. You can almost hear her again, sternly saying, “Elbows off the table!” and “Only cows chew with their mouth open.”

You’d be surprised how often we go out to dine in restaurants and have to see people with appalling table manners, who don’t even realise how disgusting they are.

I’m big on table manners, not because I’m a snob, but I think if someone went to the effort to cook you a good meal, you should have the common courtesy to eat it properly and show some respect for your fellow diners. Despite what you may think, they don’t want to see what’s in your mouth while you talk. They don’t want you to lean over them and their plate while you help yourself to the salad. And they almost certainly don’t want to see you try and swallow the spoon while you slurp that soup down.

Now before you get your goat up, nobody is asking, or expecting you to be all prim and proper at the table. No pinky-finger out while you sip your tea, no standing when a lady leaves the table, none of that. Relax. Just be fit to be seen eating in public and say it, don’t spray it.

Some basic table manner hints and things to remember are:

Don’t be a bogan and butter your whole breadroll and then eat it whole. Tear off small, manageable pieces of bread and butter it as you go.

Do not season your food before you’ve tasted it. It’s rude and makes you look like a bogan.

Do not slurp soup from your spoon. Spoon the soup away from you when you take it out of the bowl and sip it from the side, not head on. Slurping is so…bogan.

If your soup is too hot to eat, let it sit until it cools; do not blow on it. This makes you look like a bogan.

Don’t stuff your mouth full of food. Not only does it make you look like a starving bogan, but you could choke and there is nothing more embarrassing than choking in the middle of a restaurant or formal dinner.

Chew with your mouth closed. Nobody wants to see what that veal looks like after being attacked by your chompers. Neither do they want to hear all the juicy, slopping, bogan sounds of you chewing it. Don’t utter one word until you have swallowed.

Don’t make any rude comments about any food being served. Attempting to joke that the casserole on your plate looks like dog mush will only result in two outcomes. 1) You will not be invited to any future dinner parties. 2) If you are lucky enough to be invited back, your food will spat in by an angry cook with a long memory.

Always say thank you when served something. It astounds me how many people go to restaurants and totally ignore the waitstaff when they deliver their meals, drinks and cutlery. Take a minute to say thankyou, you jerks! These people handle the food you’ll be ingesting and you don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, so be appreciative.

Wait for your fellow diners to have their meals served before you tuck in. There’s nothing worse than The Pig of the table slobbering all over their plate in a hungered frenzy while the rest of the guests wait patiently. You should all start eating together.

Speaking of The Pig of the table, you should eat slowly and don’t hog into the food like a starving bogan who hasn’t been fed this fortnight because his dole money hasn’t come through yet. Slowly means to wait about 5 seconds after swallowing before contemplating your next bite.

If you get something stuck in your chompers, don’t sit there and pick it out, even if you think you’re being discreet. If you absolutely cannot handle it anymore, excuse yourself and go the toilets and deal with it.

We’ve talked about napkins before. It should be on your lap. If you somehow managed to dribble some of your French onion soup on your chin, use your napking to dab your mouth and chin gently, not smear it across your face like a …yep, you guessed it, like a bogan! Don’t wipe your face or blow your nose with a napkin. I have seen people do this.

Any utensils that have been used should not touch the table again – leave it on the plate at all times.

If someone asks you to pass the salt, you pass both the salt and pepper. Don’t ask why, just do it, okay? That’s just how it’s done. Don’t be a bogan.

When the meal is over, thank the host and if they ask how it was or if you enjoyed it, tell them it was great and you were very impressed, even if this is a lie. Telling them it tasted like “dog shit” probably isn’t appropriate.

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Posted by on December 22, 2006 in General, Inspiration


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